Gradualness and protection are two key features one should keep into consideration when exposing to the sun. Professor Antonio Costanzo, Supervisor of Dermatology at Humanitas, spoke about this in an interview for Radio 24’s program “Heart and money”.
“When exposing to the sun, you should absolutely avoid sunburns, that is a skin redness which is often itchy and sometimes makes the outermost layer of skin peel off.
Studies show that the number of sunburns one gets during childhood and teenage year, is directly proportional to the incidence of melanoma, the most frequent skin tumor. Sun exposure affects the aging of skin. In addition, it may also lead to the onset of little tumors that are histologically malignant but clinically benign, such as basal-cell and squamous-cell carcinomas”, the specialist says.

Use a sunscreen with a high protection factor

“Avoid exposure to the sun in the middle of the day. It is important to apply a sunscreen with a high protection factor right in the beginning. Bear in mind that the protection reported on the packaging is only real if you apply 2 mg of product per each square centimeter of skin. With this dosage, we would have to buy a new sunscreen every second day. Generally, we apply between 25% and 50% of the recommended quantity.
The relationship between the quantity of sunscreen and the protection is not direct but exponential. By applying a SPF 50 sunscreen, we are protected between 6 and 8. Thus, applying a high protection factor sunscreen does not hinder the achievement of a suntan (on the contrary, it lasts longer). It prevents sunburns and protects us against the risk of melanomas”, Professor Costanzo explains.

The characteristics of a sunscreen

“A sunscreen should protect against UVA and UVB rays. In fact, in the past, only UVB rays were thought to affect tanning and skin damages. However, nowadays we know that oxygen free radicals get activated by UVA rays too and they may increase our chance to develop skin cancer and skin aging”, recommends Prof. Costanzo.